Indian Railways in Coins and Cards

by Vikas Singh

Also see Vikas's article on IR-related postage stamps, article on IR-related First Day Covers, and the album of railway-related postage stamps in the picture gallery.

150 Years of IR - Commemorative Coin

The two-rupee coin on its obverse bears the Lion Capitol of the Ashok Pillar with the legend Satyamev Jayate ('truth alone triumphs') inscribed below it. On the left upper periphery is the word Bharat in Hindi and on the right upper periphery, the word INDIA in English. It also bears the denominational value 2 in international numerals below the Lion Capitol with the word Rupaye in Hindi on the lower left periphery and RUPEE in English on the lower right. The reverse side of the coin bears the image of Bholu the elephant guard, the mascot of Indian Railways, flanked on the left by the words 150 GLORIOUS YEARS in English, and on the right by the words 150 Gauravpurna Varsh in Hindi. On the top the word RAILWAYS in English and Railway in Hindi appear, and on the lower periphery BHOLU, THE GUARD in English. The year of issue, 2003, is shown at the bottom in international numerals.

Year of issue: 2003
Denomination: 2 Rupees
Weight: 6g
Mint: India Government Mint, Kolkata

Chittaranjan Das - Commemorative Coin

Chittaranjan Das, popularly known as Deshbandhu, was a leading Bengal-based Indian freedom fighter in the first quarter of the 20th century. Born in a respected Bengali family on 5th November 1870, he was highly educated and received a degree in Law from England. He was the leading figure in Bengal during the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1919-1922, and initiated the ban on British clothes. He himself set an example by burning his own European clothes and taking up 'desi' Khadi clothes. With Motilal Nehru, he founded the Swaraj Party to express his non-moderate opinions. Known to be the mentor of Subhash Chandra Bose, the imperialistic British administration tried to cool his heels many a times but could not tame his iron resolution and confidence. He brought out a paper called 'Forward' and later changed its name to 'Liberty' to fight the British Raj. When the Calcutta Corporation was formed, he became its first Mayor. He presided over the Gaya session of the Indian National Congress. Throughout his political life, he was plagued with ill health but despite that, he showed valour, courage and determination in rising up to the British.

He was a believer in non-violence and constitutional methods for the realization of national independence, and advocated communal harmony and championed the cause of national education. He was the source of inspiration to many and so when he met an untimely death on 16th June 1925, at the age of 55, Bengal suffered an unbridgeable political and spiritual vacuum. His disciples, and notably Subhash Chandra Bose carried his legacy forward.

The first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, dedicated the first steam locomotive to the nation on 1st November 1950 and on the same day the factory that was originally called Loco Building Factory was named after the patriot, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das. Chittaranjan Loco Works is one of the very few factories in the world, which can boast of having manufactured all the three type of locomotives steam, diesel and electric locomotives.

Year of issue: 1997
Denomination: 2 Rupees, 10 Rupees, 50 Rupees, and 100 Rupees
Mint: India Government Mint, Kolkata

Meghdoot Postcard

India Post introduced the Meghdoot Post Card on September 2, 2002. The Meghdoot is priced at 25 paise, that is, half the cost of a regular post card. The writing space normally available on the address side of the regular post card is made available for advertising in multicolor. The Security Printing Press at Hyderabad prints these cards. Being a postal stationery article with an advertisement, its area of distribution is determined by the advertiser, as is its design and copy. In addition to the post offices in the area of its distribution the Meghdoot is also made available in limited quantity of 2000 cards at select philatelic bureaus that handle postal stationery, namely Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, and Mumbai.

Indian Railways had a special version of the Meghdoot Post card printed on the topic of railway safety, depicting the mascot Bholu the elephant guard with a reminder in Hindi to look both ways and wait for trains to pass before crossing the railroad tracks. A level crossing is also shown with a train. These post cards were issued on 7th July, 2004.